At least three Pakistani soldiers embraced martyrdom on Tuesday when, the army said, terrorists from across Afghanistan opened fire in a latest incident that is likely to complicate relationship between Islamabad and Kabul.
Terrorists from across the border continue to pose security threat to Pakistan despite Afghan Taliban takeover and promises by the interim government not to allow Afghan soil to be used against its neighbour.
A statement issued by the military’s media wing said terrorists from inside Afghanistan across the international border, opened fire on Pakistani troops in general area Karachi of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Kurram district.
“During fire exchange, Naik Muhammad Rehman (age 32 years, resident of Karak), Naik Maweez Khan (age 34 years, resident of Jamrud, Khyber) and Sepoy Irfan Ullah (age 27 years, resident of Dargai, Malakand), having fought gallantly, embraced shahadat [martyrdom],” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.
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It said Pakistan Army troops responded in a befitting manner. “As per credible intelligence reports, due to fire of own troops, terrorists suffered heavy casualties,” it added.
The statement said Pakistan strongly condemned the use of Afghan soil by terrorists for activities against Pakistan and expects that Afghan government will not allow conduct of such activities, in future.
“Pak Army is determined to defend Pakistan’s borders against the menace of terrorism and such sacrifices of our brave soldiers further strengthen our resolve,” read the ISPR statement.
Despite change of government in Kabul, there has been no let-up in cross border terrorist attacks. In April after a spate of cross border terrorist attacks, Pakistan had to retaliate by carrying out airstrikes across the border.
The move compelled the Afghan Taliban to pacify Pakistan’s concerns as it persuaded the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to restart negotiations with Islamabad. A series of meetings between the two sides eventually led to the indefinite ceasefire announced by the TTP.
But officials said there were several groups operating out of Afghanistan and not all of them were on board with the TTP.
Pakistan is increasingly concerned with the interim Taliban government for doing little to tackle such groups.
Islamabad has been seeking action against anti-Pakistan groups but the Taliban have been pushing for a peace deal.
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It was because of this reason that Pakistan initiated talks with the TTP. However, officials warned that if talks could not produce the desired results Pakistan has all the options on the table to deal with the threat emanating from Afghanistan.
The presence of TTP and its affiliates have remained a thorn in the relationship with Afghanistan even during the previous US-backed administrations.
The problem remains unresolved despite the Taliban returning to power.